The trail follows the Ribeira de Odelouca as it runs its course around the town of São Marcos da Serra, and crosses a mosaic of vegetable gardens, orchards and riverside vegetation.
Here, the fields and the cork oak forests of the wetlands are flanked by dense groves of cork oak and strawberry tree growing halfway up the slope. The landscape, however, is lined with the verdant riparian curtain of the river.
The trail winds along rural roads; the fertile lands of the valley are put to good use by the people of São Marcos da Serra. The village is surrounded by vegetable gardens, fruit trees, olive and citrus groves. Spontaneous species such as the hawthorn, the mastic tree, or the Iberian pear are a constant presence.
At the northern end of the trail, in spite of the occasional pool of water, the landscape becomes more arid. Pastures abound, along with patches of pinewood, uncultivated lands, and extensive olive groves scattered amid crop fields, mainly rye.
Returning to the vicinity of the river, you can find typical species of the riparian vegetation of the Algarve — ash, tamarisk, willow and poplar trees, wild roses, wild grapevines and brambles. Verdant cork trees, too, near the water. Doves, golden orioles, common kingfishers, azure-winged magpies, wild rabbits, green frogs and rats are only some of the many species that can be seen here.
In Lagoão, just outside of São Marcos, the plain widens into a wide wetland, made up of a mosaic of orchards and vegetable gardens. The Fonte Nova do Serrado picnic park affords a nice view of the river. While you cross São Marcos da Serra, you can visit the Parish Church, which overlooks the village. To the northwest side of the church square there is a typical 17th century chimney, one of the parish’s icons.
Location: São Marcos da Serra
Type: walking and cycling
Circular trail: yes
Distance: 8 km
Average duration: 2h30
Cumulative elevation gain: 182 metres D+
Type of path: dirt paths and road
Start of the trail: 37º 21' 43.47'' N 8º 22' 13.62'' W